They’re one of the good guys in the heavy music scene. Fun, no-nonsense and always up for the occasion, Every Time I Die return to our shores this October for an anticipated headline tour. Killyourstereo.com sits down with guitarist Andy Williams to talk about the upcoming shows, elaborate pro wrestling personas and Dr Pepper ads.
G’day Andy, how’s it going?
Good, how are you?
Not too bad thanks. How are preparations going for the All Stars tour you’re about to embark on?
Good man. We are just playing a bunch of old songs, so we are getting geared up for the tour. It is very rare that we are all in the same city. Now, we all live in different places, so we have to take advantage of it. I basically fucked myself because I totally forgot about the interviews earlier (laughs).
It’s all good, it happens to the best of us. A really cool milestone for the band earlier this month was the 10th anniversary of the release of ‘Hot Damn!’ – it’s an impressive achievement. Does it feel like yesterday it came out or does it feel like a lifetime ago?
A little bit of both. On the All Stars tour we are going to be playing the entire record. [However] I really think it’s a nail in the coffin when a band announces they are going to do a 10-year anniversary of a record. I think it cheapens the rest of the records because it’s like, “oh hey, we did something cool 10 years ago.” We have some other records, you know what I mean? I’m proud of everything Every Time I Die have done. People think of that as a landmark record and I get it. So we are just basically going to say, “hey, check it out. Come see a set and then our encore is going to be the 27-minute record we did 10 years ago.
It’s really weird man to go back and play some of the older songs. That’s when you understand how old they are because some of those songs we haven’t played. I think ‘Pornogratherapy’, we played that like once [back] then – 10 years ago. So going back and playing it now, it’s like, “Are you fucking kidding me? These riffs came out of my head. I can’t even fucking play this right now. There’s no way I can play this.” (laughs). Then you play it a couple of times and it all comes back to me. But, there’s shit on that record that I was like, “oh cool, when I was 22 years old I was a better guitar player than when I’m fucking 36 now or whatever, back when I was 26” (laughs). It is really funny man. But, then there’s [some] songs, we haven’t played a set in 10 years without ‘Floater’, so you play a song like that and I could play it with my eyes closed. I could play it in 50 years and not play guitar until then. It’s so weird to re-live them. It’s cool because you’re playing those songs and I was playing ‘Godspeed Us to Sea’ and I’m like remembering shows I specifically played it at. I was like, “oh wow! I remember playing that song and kids went apeshit for that song, that’s cool.” It’s so weird.
Here in Australia, we are excited to have you back in a couple of months. I know you were here at the start of the year for the Big Day Out, that was probably a different line-up for you guys with different genres and different bands you wouldn’t really get to tour with otherwise. What were your best experiences from that?
There was so much downtime. The downtime took away from the festival. We did so much cool shit on the downtime. We were in the Gold Coast for four days. So, you’re just looking at beautiful beaches, you’re looking at boobs, everything you could possibly want, it was sensory overload. Then you’re like, “oh fuck, I’ve got to play”, you know what I mean? I don’t know what we were even playing, I didn’t know what these areas were? The first day we played this arena, like a soccer arena. You’re playing and it was [like] somewhere Queen would play in the 80’s (laughs). I remember playing Sydney and thinking, “Fuck! This is huge! We are playing a soccer arena. This is crazy!” All I wanted to see was Red Hot Chili Peppers that night, but I didn’t see them one time the entire tour. I didn’t see the Chili Peppers once (laughs). That was like the one band I really wanted to watch and I didn’t see them.
Obviously, it was summer time, you were wearing the denim jeans and jackets, how hot on stage was it in that get-up?
It was the worst idea we’ve ever had in 16 years of being in a band was wearing those dumb fucking denim jackets for that tour (laughs). We should’ve just let it go dude. There’s no wonder Parkway Drive dress the way they do when they play. Because they are like, “oh yeah, we’ve played in 112 degrees in the middle of summer, yeah, we’ll wear fucking sandals and board shorts.” (laughs).
Another cool thing for yourself and I guess the band too to get the exposure was the Dr Pepper ad you did. How did that come about and what has the response been from that?
Dude, fucking Twitter of all things. You might think their management people got a hold of our management people and then were like, “hey, here you go, you have this asshole with Dr Pepper tattoos, we want to use him some commercials.” (laughs). When they hit me up, I’m not kidding you, I thought they wanted me to play a biker in a commercial or a drug addict or something like that (laughs). A couple of years ago I put some head shots out there, it was when I first grew that long beard and I was trying to get some shots of being in movies, an extra where I was like a convict in the back of fucking Oz or something like that. When I got the call, this email from Twitter that’s what I thought. I thought they were going to have me be a guy in the background. Next thing you know, they’re like, “No, we want you to be this one of a kind fan.” I was like, “Are you kidding me? Dude, this is the coolest thing ever!” That was so cool. I can’t even put it into perspective because of how rad that was. The whole experience was so cool. Those dudes, the people who set it up were some of the coolest people. One of the dudes, the guy who produced it, keeps in contact with me all the time, and he is coming to one of the shows on the All Stars tour. It was just so cool man. A lot of people, I got shit, they were like, “You’re a sell-out, blah, blah, blah. Here he is man, Mr. Ads.” I was just like, “You have no fucking clue man how this came about.” There was a girl called Hannah that worked at Dr Pepper and she said, “Hey, if you’re doing this campaign this guy has to be in it.” Some girl was the whole thing that set it up. She went to her boss and said this guy is the guy. It was fucking awesome.
It was a really cool ad and campaign, and was really genuine. I know one of the things you mentioned in the ad, you said, being in a band, I think you used the term is the “job of a lifetime.” If you weren’t playing in Every Time I Die what would be the occupation that would be your second of choice?
100% a pro wrestler. I went to pro wrestling school. I gave them [Dr Pepper] so much stuff to use in that thing [the ad] and they only used what you saw. I told them stories about how I used to rock cars. There was a whole bunch of crazy shit that I talked about that I did basically to get my musical career started – I did a lot of different shit. Jack of all trades type of shit. One of the things is I went to pro wrestling school and I ended up blowing my knee out. When I was holed up with surgery and stuff I played the guitar and wrote some songs (laughs). So yeah, I’d probably be a pro wrestler or something like that.
When you say pro wrestling is that the actual sport or the WWE type sports entertainment?
Not real wrestling, are you kidding (laughs)? Totally fake that type of stuff. I mean I wrestled “wrestled” like really wrestled for a long time. I wrestled from 7th grade into college and there’s nothing to do. There’s nothing you can do after that. There’s no career in that so you have to pick a career. I was like, “oh fuck it, I’ll become a pro wrestler because I’m big and I’ve got a weird look, and someone will like it at some point in time.”
Have you got the ideal persona picked out already?
Yeah, it was like this highflying farmer because I had this long beard at the time and they called me Billy Goat Williams. It would be like a highflying thing, doing back flips off the top rope and shit like that. It was actually pretty cool (laughs)…and I got to wear overalls with no shirt (laughs).
That’s awesome. I know touring is the focus at the moment with the All Stars tour and coming down to Australia, but when do you think you’ll look to start formulating some ideas for new material?
We already have some stuff worked out. There was talk of maybe doing a 7” or a split 7” with another band towards the end of the year. But, we haven’t seen anything yet. It was just an idea we were kicking around because we have a couple of songs written. It is weird man, since we’ve got Legs [Ryan Leger, Drums] in the band the whole making of music has changed completely because on ‘Ex Lives’ we did it different than we ever had before. Everything was 50/50, it kind of turned into this thing where I’d come in with a full song idea and then Jordan [Buckley, guitar] would put his two cents in it, and then Jordan would come in with a full song and I’d put my two cents in. It was weird because we never did it like that before but it’s really hard because I live in Boston and he lives in California, so we are sending riffs to each other. So now, I’ve got so used to writing full songs that I just keep writing full songs. Now, I sit at home and I kick around and write music constantly. It’s not a 50/50 thing.
We were mentioning Twitter before. I know your Twitter handle is @Andycomplains. What would be your biggest complaint, it can be musical or non-musical, at the moment?
My complaint right now is people don’t listen before they talk. The majority of people on the planet right now just talk before they actually think of what’s happening. Everyone is so into getting over on a person that whatever comes out they want to be the guy. Everyone is kicking around. It’s almost like improvisation comedy is what it is. There’s no discussion anymore. So kids will sit around and it’s like, one kid will say something like, “my butt itches.” Then the other guy is like, “well, fuck your butt.” (laughs). Then another kid will come up and be like, “butt fucker.” (laughs). They’ll just sit around and by the time everyone has had the chance to talk it is literally just a putting together of shit that has come out of their mouths. It’s like, “dude, you just had a two minute conversation about this guy started out with his butt is itchy and now you’re talking about butt fucking. You’re a fucking idiot.” (laughs). That’s my biggest complaint right now (laughs). Stop listen, think, process it, and then talk. It’s fucking crazy man (laughs).
I’d definitely agree with that.
Were there any final words you wanted to pass onto readers before I let you go?
Just come see us man. That’s one thing, with our band, it’s one of those bands, where our records are good, but you have to come see the band play. It’s a different experience. If you go see Meshuggah live, it’s a lot like the record. Every Time I Die live is nothing like the records, so you’ve got to come see us live. Try to convey that as much as possible.
I’m definitely looking forward to catching you guys in Melbourne – checking you out live again and having a beer.
Yeah, I’m pretty stoked man. Not that Big Day Out put a bad taste in my mouth, it didn’t at all, it is just playing festivals compared to clubs is completely different. I can’t wait to just get back into a club.
Really appreciate you taking the time chat with us today and I’ll see you in a couple of months Andy.
Awesome man, I’ll see you then.